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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois in the Cold War Era 1945-1975: The Fight for Freedom

The Fight for Freedom of Speech and Expression in the 1960s

The Fight for Freedom of Speech and Expression in the 1960s

The W.E.B DuBois Club was formed to challenge the Clabaugh Act, circa 1967

The Free Speech Movement started on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley and quickly spread to other colleges and universities.  Many students were becoming involved in the Civil Rights Movement and the effort to end the war in Vietnam.  They objected to campus prohibitions on political advocacy.  In the mid-1960s students and professors revived the fight for freedom of speech and expression on the University of Illinois campus. 

Academic and social freedoms in Illinois educational institutions had been curtailed in the Cold War era by initiatives such as the Clabaugh Act and Broyles Bills. Students began to challenge these directives through organizations like the Student Committee on Political Expression and the DuBois Club as well as setting up a “Free Speech Area” near the Illini Union.  However, their activities were frequently met with charges of subversion and Communism, and violence erupted over the University’s decision to bar Chicago 7 lawyer William Kunstler from speaking on campus.

University of Illinois Sources:

 Board of Trustees Proceedings (RS 1/1/802)

Campus Security Office Campus Unrest File, 1968-1972 (RS: 37/4/9)

Campus Security Office Disciplinary Hearings Transcripts and Reports, 1970-1974 (RS: 37/4/10)

Robert Goldstein Papers, 1966-67 (RS 41/20/25):  DI reporter’s papers include his files on UI’s non-recognition of the W.E.B. DuBois Club and Clabaugh Act.

Senate Committee Reports and Correspondence Files, 1940-83 (RS 4/7/4): Includes a folder on the Ad Hoc Committee on the DuBois Club in box 1.

Nicholas C. Wisseman Papers, 2003 (RS 41/20/153) – MA thesis “McCarthyism at the UI” covers Clabaugh Act controversy at UI.

Chancellor’s Office, Facility Planning and Management, Building Photos, 1968-80

(RS 24/5/14): Includes photograph of free speech area in box 4.

Daily Illini index to “Spectrum” articles, 1961-78 (RS 41/8/801) – Sept. 25, 1965: “Illini Forum: A Free Speech Area”

Student Organizations Publications, 1871- (RS 41/6/840): Includes information from the “Students Against the Clabaugh Act.”

Student and Faculty Org. Constitutions & Registration Cards, (RS 41/2/41): Includes information on the “Students Against the Clabaugh Act.”

Graduate Student Association Subject Files, 1967-71 (RS 41/62/15): Includes file on “academic freedom.”

Chancellor’s Office Subject Files, 1967-75 (RS 24/1/1)

Trustees Secretary Correspondence,  1919-77  (RS 1/1/1): Box 64.

Files of Faculty for University Reform, 1968-70 (RS 48/1/10)

Henry Skornia Papers, 1937-91 (Broadcasting) (RS 13/6/20): Includes tape of critique on Kunstler speech.

President David D. Henry General Correspondence, 1955-71 (RS: 2/12/1)

American Association of University Professors (Urbana Chapter) Correspondence, 1934-1984 (RS: 48/1/5): includes correspondence, reports, clippings and articles on academic freedom cases such as the Leo Koch affair and the DuBois Club-Clabaugh Act cases.

Wayne A. Johnston Papers, 1945-1967 (RS: 1/20/3): Includes correspondence on the Clabaugh Act and the DuBois Club

Daily Illini, 1874- (Microform in Newspaper Library)



 Student Activism: Town and Gown in Historical Perspective, Alexander DeConde, ed.,  (New York: 1971).

Robert A. Freer, Academic freedom at state universities : the university of Illinois, 1867-1950, a case study. (Cambridge, MA: 1950) [microfilm copy of this undergraduate Harvard thesis available in the UI History Library]

David Lance Goines, The Free Speech Movement: Coming of Age in the 1960's (Berkeley: 1993).

David Horowitz, Student (New York: 1962).

The Berkeley Student Revolt: Facts and Interpretations, Seymour Martin Lipset and Sheldon S. Wolin, eds., (Garden City, N.Y.: 1965).

Chicago Tribune, “Du Bois Club Wins U. of I. Recognition,” Feb. 10, 1967, p. 1.

Chicago Tribune, “Berkeley Comes to Illinois,” Feb. 11, 1967, p. B8.

Chicago Tribune, “U.I. Trustees Vote to Bar Du Bois Club,” Mar. 15, 1967, p. 1.

Chicago Tribune, “U.I. Bans Kunstler Talk,” Mar. 3, 1970, p. 1.